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Crystal Ballroom

Where On Any Night, Anything Can Happen!!

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Sunday, February 18

McMenamins and Portland Mercury present

"Sabertooth Micro Fest"

* Day 3 of three *

featuring:

Thurston Moore Group

Heron Oblivion

Lavender Flu

Lola's Room: Performances by School Of Rock

Ringlers: DJ'd After-party

A musical celebration of the Crystal Ballroom's psychedelic history

sponsored by Portland Mercury, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jackpot Records, Voodoo Doughnuts

(Times to be announced)

All ages welcome (Al's Den is 21+)

$35 advance, $40 day of show (VIP and Weekend Passes available)

"Sabertooth Micro Fest"

McMenamins and Portland Mercury proudly host the Fourth Annual Sabertooth psychedelicstonerrockmicrofest, a musical celebration of the Crystal Ballroom's psychedelic history.

Visit the Sabertooth website for all info!

Sabertooth is presented by McMenamins and Portland Mercury, with additional support from Jackpot Records, Pabst and Voodoo Doughnuts.

Weekend passes and VIP tickets available!

Microfest website:
http://www.sabertoothpdx.com/

Thurston Moore Group

Thurston Moore moved to NYC at eighteen in 1976 to play punk. He started Sonic Youth in 1980. Since then Thurston Moore has been at the forefront of the alternative rock scene since that particular sobriquet was first used to signify any music that challenged and defied the mainstream standard. With Sonic Youth, Moore turned on an entire generation to the value of experimentation in rock n roll - from its inspiration on a nascent Nirvana, to Sonic Youth's own Daydream Nation album being chosen by the US Library of Congress for historical preservation in the National Recording Registry in 2006. Thurston records and performs in a cavalcade of disciplines ranging from free improvisation to acoustic composition to black/white metal/noise disruption. He has worked with Yoko Ono, John Zorn, David Toop, Cecil Taylor, Faust, Glenn Branca and many others. His residency at the Louvre in Paris included collaborations with Irmin Schmidt of CAN. Alongside his various activities in the musical world, he is involved with publishing and poetry, and teaches writing at Naropa University, Boulder CO, a school founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman in 1974. Thurston also teaches music at The Rhythmic Music Conservatory (Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium) in Copenhagen.

Presently he performs and records solo, with various ensembles and in his own band, The Thurston Moore Group (with mbv's Deb Googe, Steve Shelley & James Sedwards). In 2014, the band released The Best Day which critics described as "optimistic and sun-drenched in beauty" and "[has] experimental attitude dovetailed with instantly accessible pop melodies." The Best Day was a record defined by positivity and radical love.

The Thurston Moore Group's new full-length album, Rock n Roll Consciousness was recorded in The Church studios in London with producer Paul Epworth. The songs are expansive, anthemic and exploratory with lyrics that investigate and herald the love between angels, goddess mysticism and a belief in healing through new birth. Ranging from opener "Exalted", an unfolding and emotional journey in homage to sacred energy and exaltation, to "Cusp" a charging, propulsive piece with a feeling of Sonic Youth mixing in with My Bloody Valentine. "Turn On" is a pop-sonic poem to holy love both intimate and kosmiche to the contemplative mystery of life-defining time travel in "Smoke of Dreams". The record concludes with "Aphrodite", a strange and heavy no-wave rocker in salutation to the idol of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.

 

Website:
https://www.thurstonmoore.com/

Heron Oblivion

Pastoral pummel. Listening to Heron Oblivion's album feels like sitting in a lovely meadow in the shadow of a dam that's gonna heave-ho' any minute. Members of this new San Francisco combo have put in time in both raging and relatively tranquil psychedelic sound units-this is the premise and the synergy behind this very unique and special new album.

On the West Coast side, Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson were together in the mighty Comets on Fire, who spent a large chunk of the mid-2000s playing unbridled, blistering rock worldwide, fueled by a steady diet of amphetaminized Crazy Horse, High Rise, MC5, Chrome, and Fushitsusha. They were molten and melting down at all times-with twin-guitar blowtorch jams inflected with Noel's careening electronic infusions, and songs and structures holding on to the wheel (barely) while destruction ensued. Noel did time afterwards with Sic Alps and Six Organs of Admittance, while Miller settled into a new level of interactions with Howlin' Rain and Feral Ohms. Charlie Saufley resided at the psychedelic pop fringes with his band Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (kindred spirits to Comets to be sure.) He was joined in California by Meg Baird of Philadelphia's Espers. The East Coast connection, Baird was an already-established leading light in the modern psych-folk canon both in Espers and as a solo artist (most recently releasing the gorgeous Don't Weigh Down the Light LP on Drag City,) as well as original drummer for Philly's post-hardcore degenerates Watery Love.

Ethan and Noel were loosely jamming in an improvisational unit called Wicked Mace at this point. Via osmosis, Charlie and Meg came floating in for weekly hangs that still resided in a somewhat free zone. "We just did pure improv' for a few months under no pressure to ‘be anything' or ‘be a band'", says Miller, "I think Noel and I sort of pushed for the idea of Meg on drums, me on bass, and Noel and Charles on guitars just to mix it up a bit, get outside our usual mold a little." Though Noel and the newfound rhythm section took roles with instruments they were familiar with-but not particularly known for-ideas bubbled up quickly, and each member contributed to the songwriting process. "As expected, Charles and Noel had killer guitar chemistry, incredible fuzz sounds, symbiotic interplay," Miller recounts. Though a multitude of other parallel musical projects kept the pace slow for the foursome, it moved steadily forward-and down paths much less trodden and familiar for the players involved. It was something new, unfamiliar, and invigorating to say the least. Eventually, seven songs were tracked at Eric Bauer's San Francisco studio "The Mansion," and the results are stellar.
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Three shades of light run through Heron Oblivion: Baird's rich, beautiful vocal approach, the locked-horns bass and drums of her and Miller's streamlined-but-motorik rhythm section, and a twin guitar tapestry that both aligns with the dreaminess of the songs and crackles out of containment to froth over the rim. It's a seamless but pronounced thing: "Oriar" sports dramatic spires of solos that fly high out of the gate, slowly settling in to lilting verses then exploding again, "Rama" drifts like an Opal/Fairport wedding with more tumbling, syrupy electric lines all around.

Meg's gorgeous singing resides within an untouchable domain and never struggles, nor has to combat the avalanche of guitars that ebb and flow. The only other record this could be remotely compared to maybe is the Slap Happy Humphrey record on Japan's Alchemy label years ago, where female vocal melodies combat sick walls of noise guitar. But in this case a definite West Coast style reigns-where elements meld rather than stand as opposing black-and-white walls: Even the heights of guitar destruction on Heron's "Faro" build steadily and organically from the beginning to end.

The group first properly gigged in April of 2014 opening for War On Drugs. They finished the record independently, then inked a deal with Sub Pop in early 2015. Most recently they toured the West Coast with Kurt Vile and Cass McCombs.

-Brian Turner/Music Director WFMU Jersey City NJ

 

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/HeronOblivion

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Heron-Oblivion-1613161242245463/timeline/

Lavender Flu

The Lavender Flu is Chris Gunn (Hunches/Hospitals), Scott Simmons (Helen/Eat Skull), Lucas Gunn (the Blimp), and Ben Spencer (Hunches). Like Big Star reimagined by Royal Trux or Meat Puppets repurposed by Brian Eno. The band sounds familiar yet unique. Inside and outside. Comfortably homeless. A group that dared to confront the dilated pupils of the Bobby Problem in search of that elusive "Heavy Air" sound; the Lavender Flu looks forwards, backwards, and sideways. They rule the adult rock circuit with an overdose of chamomile and a touch of grey. Fuck the purists, the nostalgists, and the genre concentration camps. You know you have to take off your heavy metal jacket, your bullet belt, or your techno shades sometimes. Your uniform means nothing here. Adult rock has no limits. The Lavender Flu has no scene. Put on your socks AND Tevas. No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.

A musical celebration of the Crystal Ballroom's psychedelic history

The Saber-toothed Cat thrived from the Eocene Epoch to the Pleistocene Epoch (a 42 million year stretch), and it's our hope that our Sabertooth Festival, with its roots in Portland's own "psycheluvic epoch"* will survive as long.

While psychedelic music covers a range of styles and genres, it is inspired by psychedelic culture and the attempt to replicate the mind altering experiences that started in mid-'60s folk rock and blues. As such, Sabertooth celebrates the historical role the Crystal Ballroom played through previous half-century of psychedelic music.

In the late 1960s the Crystal Ballroom celebrated an era referred to as "18 months of Psychedelia," and hosted mind expanding artists of the day from Frank Zappa to the Grateful Dead.  While the modern Sabertooth Festival celebrates this history and shares the same common thread of experimentation and the ability to transport the listener to an altered reality, it is not a rehash of artists from a bygone era; the psychedelic music of the 21st century is in fact very different than what it was in the 1960s.

The Crystal's psychedelic cred includes notable nuggets from rock and roll history:

  • the famous Peace Rites event at the Crystal in the '60s, where Allen Ginsberg disputably first read 'Howl' (we celebrate his fellow beats in the Joe Cotter mural in the room itself).
  • the Dead recorded much of their exploratory Anthem of the Sun at the Crystal
  • the forefather of the distorted and processed guitar, Jimi Hendrix, played there as well

The Crystal has always been the nexus of this scene and McMenamins has continued to program and promote music of this nature since its opening.

Those looking at psychedelia's earliest roots will also see the Crystal playing a role. The first use of the word "psychedelic" in reference to music was in reference to our friends and extended family, the Holy Modal Rounders (members of whom will be performing at the Sabertooth event) of the East Village Freak Folk scene.  Other key players of this scene were John Fahey, who's last Portland show was with us at our St Johns Pub; Bert Jansch  (Pentangle) who we have hosted on two occasions in Lola's Room and the Rounders themselves who have performed multiple reunion concerts at the Crystal Ballroom.

In the late 70s the new psychedelic revival featuring bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, George Clinton and Fishbone... all acts who have played the Ballroom. And as time moved on, the early 90s brought a "neo-psychedelic " movement with the Elephant 6 collective, and the Crystal continues to host their music (Jeff Mangum, Neutral Milk Hotel, of Montreal - and supporting the Saturday night show The Minders). 

The 21st Century lineage continues with such bands as Tame Impala, Animal Collective and The War on Drugs, who in fact just performed at the Crystal and whose early member/collaborator Kurt Vile headlined the inagural event along with stoner rock doom metal pioneers Sleep in 2015.

 

Psychedelic music in its varying forms and styles is part of the lifeblood of the Crystal Ballroom:  we wouldn't be open today without it, and we have continued to program it. Sabertooth is a natural extension of this, a full blown celebration of the music where the Company and the Crystal , as our predecessors , eternally presses Furthur ...

*from the Oregonian, March 3, 1967

Wiki-delia:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_music

Interesting related Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Remember-the-Crystal-Ballroom-of-the-60s/1429127164040565